Laos will benefit from the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund (AISTDF) provided by the Indian government, following a substantial increase in funding.The Indian government last week confirmed that it will increase the size of the Fund from US$1 million to US$5 million.
Any of the 10 ASEAN member countries can submit proposals to request funding to support their research activities.
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Houmphanh Intharath, recently attended the Fund’s 5th Meeting of the Governing Council on the importance of supporting human resources in the ASEAN technology sector, including in Laos.
The meeting was titled the 11th ASEAN–India Working Group on Science and Technology, with Mr. Houmphanh attending in his capacity as President of the the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology.
He said Laos and other ASEAN member countries could submit a proposal for a technology project to request support from the Fund, to be provided to the applicant country’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
Increasing numbers of applicants from ASEAN have been registering each year, although only a small number have come from Laos, Mr. Houmphanh said.
Secretary at the Indian government’s Department of Science and Technology, Professor Ashutosh Sharma, said the new support will run from 2017 to 2020 under the AISTDF.
The Fund is a multilateral arrangement between India and ASEAN member states supported by the government of India, with a focus on providing support for scientific research and development.
It also exists to support development towards innovation in industry, training, and short courses in science and technology and innovation, as well as other activities involving researchers and students in ASEAN.
Mr. Houmphanh said the recent meeting in India reviewed human resource development in technology and partnership development activities through joint science projects between ASEAN and India.
During the meeting, participants reported on the progress of their activities and discussed plans for the ASEAN-India Portal on Technology Information and Commercialisation and Intellectual Property Rights including Quality Systems in Manufacturing.
There were discussions about the management of the Fund, and the sharing of experiences in science and technology between students from ASEAN and India.
Special fields of interest are the science and technology sectors, pharmaceuticals, food security, malaria control, and advanced materials.
Mr. Houmphanh said the meeting included an announcement by the Indian government that the number of scholarships for students in ASEAN countries would be increased from 30 to 100 annually from 2017 to 2020.
The Indian government set up the Fund in 2006, when it was agreed that India and ASEAN would undertake collaborative steps in technology development in areas of common interest including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, agriculture for food security, and advanced materials through the creation of a common ASEAN-India Sciences and Technology Development Fund.
Source: Vientiane Times